Cow Corner

In a league of his Eoin

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Eoin Morgan's stock continued to skyrocket quicker than Shafiul Islam's economy rate as the diminutive dasher smashed a stunning 110 to spare England the ignominy of a series-levelling defeat against Bangladesh.

The irrepressible Morgan was utterly nerveless as England's lower order reacted with such desperate panic you wondered if Owais Shah had suddenly been deployed as a runner in the middle as Stuart Broad was hastily shifted down to number 11 with a dodgy back.

England's number five batted with all the composure and poise of Michael Bevan in his pomp, only without the gum-chewing and pouting, as he disdainfully ignored the reckless swiping at the other end and sealed the win by mullering an off-cutter over long-on with the blacksmith approach.

There is no doubt that Alastair Cook is proving to be as adept in the role of skipper as Andrew Strauss: he has now won two tosses out of two. Strauss's hallmark has always been his ability to identify a head from a tail: whether in sub-continent conditions or in front of Father Time; home or away. Cook is proving that he can emulate the choker-wearing batsman in that regard, and he has already chalked up more toss-wins than Nasser Hussain mustered in his entire tenure.

England, on the whole, fielded like South Africa circa 1999 with stunning stops and long barriers that would have made even Jonty Rhodes look shabby, but it only served to highlight a staggering aberration of Monty Panesar-proportions by Broad in the 29th over.

Paul Collingwood's fifth dibbly-dobbler-wibbly-wobbler of the over lured Mushfiqur Rahim into a top-edged paddle which Broad, clearly thinking about his cameo appearance facing Roger the Dodger's sprightly medium-pace in The Beano comic, shut his eyes and palmed the ball onto the turf to leave the flame-haired medium-trundler simmering at the top of his mark.

Bresnan then decided that the long-barrier was outdated and overrated as he casually offered one hand to make a regulation stop at fine leg, then looked down at the ground in disbelief as the ball rolled past his alarmingly-relaxed defences and over the boundary rope. This time it was Broad's turn to look up to the heavens and wonder how the Yorkshireman could have been so negligent.

The portly medium-pacer made amends by demolishing the woodwork of first Aftab Ahmed, then Mahmudullah, as he sent the pair's middle stumps off for a run with two yorkers, and both batsmen were left to reflect on their reckless swipes across the line with a jasmine tea back in the hutch.

There were persistent delays in play as perhaps the least useful sightscreen ever employed was constantly moved and wiped, repainted and tweaked - it conjured up memories of the tin roof laid out on its side and doused in whitewash to provide assistance at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Collingwood snaffled a stonker of a catch to remove Imrul Kayes for 63 and show Bresnan and Broad how to field, diving sharply to his right to cling on to a drive mullered into the leg side disdainfully by the batsman. A fired up Colly threw the ball back to the bowler as if to remind the batsman that there was a chair waiting for him on the Bangladesh balcony, and simply resumed his spot at midwicket with staggering nonchalance.

Mushfiqur Rahim, who kept wicket like an inebriated Sunday league farmer in the first match on Sunday, handed Craig Kieswetter a reprieve by dropping the swaggering opener off the second ball of the innings. After a disgusted shake of the head, Shafiul simply responded by bowling a tad wider and warming the hands of first slip - an altogether more reliable route - to secure the wicket of the opener.

Kevin Pietersen contrived to play about five shots in quick succession as he ended up not executing any of them and instead trapped the ball with his pad in front of middle, before Collingwood was dropped at midwicket after skipping down the wicket like an over-zealous gymnast. Abdur Razzak bizarrely, and presumably sarcastically, gave Mahmudullah a hearty round of applause and a knowing nod.

England did not complete the win without a hefty dose of fortune - or some Daryl Harper-esque umpiring, if you prefer - and Morgan, then Matt Prior, were both trapped plumb in front of their stumps but were handed reprieves.

Umpire Rod Tucker refused Razzak an appeal which, if the bowler had enquired which stump it was missing, the Australian would have had to concede was perhaps middle, as Prior's disbelief was only thinly veiled.

Morgan looked sheepishly down at his pads after they were rapped heavily by Mahmudullah bang in front, whose fervent appeal began as an expected shout, and ended as a staggered squeal as the batsman was allowed to march on merrily.

But nothing can be taken away from the Englishman (well, let's not be pedantic) who reached his first one-day international century in a dark blue shirt, and whose IPL fee will be augmenting by the day.

SHOT OF THE DAY: How can you look beyond Morgan's agricultural hoik over long-on to score the winning runs? Well, we will. Bangladesh's gloriously-named Suhrawadi 'shovel it' Shuvo finished the hosts' innings with a slog so unashamedly rural that it might as well have been tonked with a four-grip, 3.5lb, long-handle GM Hero blade and met with a cry of 'fetch that'!

STAT OF THE DAY: Morgan became the first player to make an ODI century for two different 'ICC recognised' (whatever that means) nations.

USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: It is rather fortunate for England and good to see that today's umpires appear to have been to the Daryl Harper school of decision making. To say it is laughable is an understatement. (Ricmeo67 is not one to curse poor umpiring, nor to overstate it.)

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